Elaine Byrne: Environmentalists are the key to flood management

The state is wrong to blame 'climate zealots’ for delays in construction of flood defence schemes, and should instead be looking to nature-based solutions

Michael McShane walks through flood water on Market Street in Downpatrick, Co Down. Flood insurance cover has been withdrawn from many of the areas affected because the level of risk is regarded as inevitable rather than unforeseen. Picture: PA

Carlingford in Louth; Union Quay, South Mall and Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork city; the main street of Midleton and its surrounding townlands; Rosslare Strand in Wexford and Ferrybank in Waterford. Downpatrick, Portadown, Banbridge and Newry in Northern Ireland. In the last few weeks, images of the destruction of livelihoods and homes across Ireland have become normalised.

The language around extreme flooding is revealing. Unprecedented rainfall and localised flash flooding have been joined by a ...